Posted by: old_user on Jan-03-07 10:26 AM (EST)
Kevin, nice article but I have to admit that I never have been laughed at for switching sides. I use a bent shaft almost excusively (why doesn't everyone?) and still fail to recognize the advantages of the variations of the J-stroke used by my straight shaft peers. The two major flaws with J-stroke type technique (incuding the new flavor of the week, Canadian stroke) is that 1) it is not as effecient as a forward stroke on the other side because you are still using a form of rudder. Read: less distance with more energy expenditure. And 2) Extending paddling on the same side is what chiropractors dream about. It is bad bio-mechanics to stay on one side, which can lead to back problems and motion injuries.
This email's purpose is not meant to start a silly debate over why the hit 'n swith method is usually better to use and better for you. It just makes sense to promote something other then what was written in Boy Scout manuels from the 1940's. I have paddled a lot. And on 4 different continents. Some of the cultures of paddling go way beyond what we have in North America and NONE of them use the J-stroke. Gee, I wonder why?
The other thing that bothers me is the kneeling position in your picture. I wonder how many newcomers this has turned off. Again, we are the only culture I know of that kneels in a canoe. Can you think of a more uncomfortable position? Sit! It is much more pleasant. Use kneeling as a tool for unstable water, not as a modus operenti.
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